5 Yoga Poses for Kids
Yoga isn’t only for adults; it has been shown to help children develop as they grow. As many of the poses are named after animals, Yoga for kids is a fun way to incorporate a non-competitive form of physical activity for your child. Here are some benefits of introducing your child to Yoga:
- De-Stress: Children face many stressors in life that we might not be aware of. From school competitiveness in academics and finding friendships, to living at home and being exposed to little arguments and conflicts between family members. Yoga encourages techniques like relaxation, inner fulfillment and breathing, which provide coping tools in face of these challenges.
- Calmness: Yoga is a very calming practice for kids, as it teaches to breathe deeply, and relax. This is a wonderful technique that translates to other aspects your child’s life. You will notice your child learning to relax instead of immediately jumping to fight in face of conflicts.
- Patience: Holding poses is a great way to lean patience; by breathing through a posture, children learn to practice a calm state when waiting and accepting a situation as it is.
- Body-Awareness: Body awareness is a wonderful concept to introduce at a young age, and Yoga provides a venue for this. It encourages physical activity that is non-competitive, and creates an opportunity for building friendships and bonds.
- Flexibility and Strength: Yoga not only encourages a sense of calmness and relaxation, but it also allows children to explore the movement of their bodies, and connect with themselves and surroundings. They will learn to be strong in face of challenges through the held poses, and understand their body’s limits through stretching and holding.
5 Yoga Poses For Kids:
- Sun Salutations: For Breathing
One of the simplest and most powerful practices you can teach your children is breath awareness. Diaphragmatic breathing, the relaxed, deep breathing that activates the diaphragm muscle, is the prerequisite for the subtle practices of the yoga tradition. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a state of calm, improves focus, and reduces anxiety.
In yoga, we move as we breathe. For example, we stretch on the inhale and relax on the exhale. The Sunrise/Sunset pose is a good all-over warm-up for any activity. 1. Stand up tall. Take three to five deep breaths. 2. On the next inhale, lift your arms above your head. Press your legs and feet down toward the ground and stretch your spine and waist toward the sky. As you exhale, bend the upper half of your body at your waist down toward your legs, as if you were diving into a pool. Bend as far as you comfortably can. As you inhale again, open your arms wide and stand up slowly, stretching your arms to the sky. 4. Repeat this six to 10 times. As you inhale and stretch, think of the glowing, rising sun. As you exhale and fold, think of the setting sun.
- Tree Pose: Balance and Body Awareness 1. Stand up straight and tall. Breathe in and out and feel your legs reaching toward the ground and your head reaching toward the sky. Look at one spot in front of you to keep your eyes steady. 2. Now lift your right leg by bending your knee. Breathe evenly, looking at one spot in front of you. Place your right leg on your left leg, above the knee (or below the knee if that’s more comfortable). Imagine roots growing from your left foot into the ground. Let your left leg be strong like the trunk of the tree. Now stretch your arms up like branches.
- Butterfly Pose: Stretching and Calm
1. Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Hold on to your feet or ankles, and let your knees drop toward the floor. Sit up with a tall spine. 2. Imagine that you are a butterfly with beautiful wings stretching out from your spine and with long antennae reaching out from your head.
- Gorilla: Stretch and body awareness
Stand with your legs wide apart. Bend forward at the waist, bending your knees a little bit. Let your arms hang down in front of you and swing your upper body back and forth like a gorilla. You can also just hang forward over your legs without swinging.
- Bow Pose: Flexibility, strength, breathing
Lie on your belly. Breathe in and relax your body as you breathe out. Bend your knees and take hold of your ankles behind you. As you breathe in, lift your head and chest and legs off of the floor. Pull your feet away from your back to stretch your chest and belly. 2. As you slowly breathe in and out in the Bow pose, lift your head and feet toward the ceiling. Feel the arch in your back. 3. When you are ready, come down slowly on an exhalation, and rest on your belly.